Author Topic: Rental Business Systems/Investing in Multiple Cities  (Read 1856 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Rental Business Systems/Investing in Multiple Cities
« on: June 14, 2014, 08:23:11 PM »
Just wondering if anyone on these forums is large enough to use a business system to run their business? I don't mean quick books, I'm talking about some kind of software or web site to actively mange and/or completely run your rental business. I'm really looking for a combination of an accounting system and a business system. Something where I can keep track of finances, hold copies of all my documents (HUD, title insurance, leases, etc.) , simulate projected cashflows, send work orders to contractors, and simulate the best way to pay off debt while still achieving a "reasonable" cashflow.

I'm not sure that anything like this exists. I know of tenant trackers and accounting systems like quickbooks, but I want both in one. My argument is that real estate is a cashflow driven business so when a tenant does pay the accounting system needs to tell the business management system to evict. Or when a new rental property is purchased through the accounting system, it needs to tell the management system to turn on the utilities, change the locks, etc.

My background is in both engineering and IT so I've already started a basic system like I describe. Just wondering if anyone else feels they need the same thing? Do you guys have business systems and checklists or are you fly by the seat of your pants?

Taking a few steps back and getting further off topic I'm concerned about preserving and diversifying the success I've been having in real estate. Over the last five years I've gone from straight out of college to having 20 properties all in one midwest city. It makes me nervous to have so much wealth invested in one thing in one city. I agree real estate will prosper in the long run for the country as a whole, but the bet on one city concerns me. Even though I'm in the midwest, several cities along the Atlantic ocean are within a days drive or half day plane trip. I want to own 20 properties in two cities and have a business system to mostly run the operation with regular random checkups by me. My thought is since the second city would be close by to where all my properties currently are I would have split residency in both cities and spend no less than one week a month in each city to make sure things are under control. Honestly I would enjoy hoping between cities and this is another reason why I want to do this.

In the city I'm in now, I feel comfortable leaving the business for a week to travel for my day job. I have great contractors lined up and good tenants in place. I'm trying to put together a system to alert me when things go wrong so I can pursue other opportunities. If the rent is being paid, the taxes are being paid, and there are reserves things are going well. Additionally I'm contemplating a property inspection system as part of my business system to have contractors periodically stop by to clean gutters, inspect the interior, etc. Another feature I plan to implement in my system is after every repair I will have my secretary call the tenant and ask if they are satisfied with the work the contractor did. The business system will create a work order for the contractor and and the secretary call them to setup a time. The next day the secretary will follow up with the tenant to make sure the contractor showed up and did a good job.

So does anyone else do anything like this? Am I over complicating? My goal is to make my rentals as close to a true passive investment as possible. They will never be as passive as a stock, but I can try to get close. I think there are ways for me to contract out even the management to give myself free time. A second reason I'm doing this is that my next business I'm interested in self storage. So 20 tenants becomes 200+ and automation is a must! Also I think the self storage business is similar enough to residential rentals that I can tweak a version of my rental business system to run the self storage business system.


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 324
Re: Rental Business Systems/Investing in Multiple Cities
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 12:26:06 AM »
I use appfolio.  It costs $200 per month, up to 200 units, but worth it.